"The basic idea behind deduplication is simple. Think of it as a backup solution that is intelligent enough to know when it encounters the same data twice. An obvious example would be an email archive backup that includes lots of attachments. If a backup system recognizes that a number of messages contain the same attachment, it can keep a single copy and replace the others with a virtual pointer."
So, why is dedupe such a powerful technology for SMBs?
1. It's everywhere nowadays. Over the past few years, dedupe has moved quickly from the enterprise storage market into the SMB mainstream. Both cloud vendors and those with on-premise offerings now routinely include dedupe as a standard feature.
2. It's better in many cases than file compression. When you're dealing with primary storage where there is often just one copy of a particular file, compression is a good option. But with backups, businesses often deal with the same data appearing over and over in multiple backup sets. And the ability to replace all of that redundant data with simple pointers to single copy is where dedupe really shines.
3. Dedupe makes cloud-based backups practical. The real problem with cloud-based storage isn't security or reliability (assuming you pick your provider carefully). It's the time and bandwidth required to move multi-GB or even multi-TB backup sets effectively across the Internet. Dedupe makes this much easier by cutting your backup windows and slashing the bandwidth required to upload a backup set.
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In other words, dedupe isn't just something that's nice to have these days. It's something you should expect and demand from both on-premise and cloud-based storage services. And it is definitely a feature that you shouldn't have to pay a premium to get.